In This Review

The Tragedy of the European Union: Disintegration or Revival?
The Tragedy of the European Union: Disintegration or Revival?
By George Soros
PublicAffairs, 2014, 208 pp

This is the most honest and sensible book yet to tackle the euro crisis. Soros eschews the sanctimony and pseudoscience that frequently accompany commentary on the EU and gets right to the basic political conflicts and human foibles that underlie the union’s problems. Although he is a bit imprecise on the origins of the euro system, he explains with clarity how the single currency created a financial system dominated by incorrect assessments of risk. One result has been the eurozone’s domination by Germany, which benefits from the system in the short term and refuses to change it, blocking significant banking reform. This guarantees a long period of stagnation for southern European countries, which now find themselves in a position similar to that of developing countries that borrow in a foreign currency. Soros sees this as a “nightmare” from which Europe might never wake: for better or worse, the eurozone might not last. This book represents not merely the clear-eyed criticism of a single economist; it also marks a final loss of faith in the EU project on the part of one of its most prominent believers.